Speakers’ Corner – Selfie with my Bestie

I was one of many who joined Facebook in the stampede over a decade ago.  It was an obsession at the start.  But now, when I look at my feed, which I admit I still do a couple of times a day, I’m bombarded with adverts that have been selected by an algorithm based on my online preferences.  It’s all rather George Orwell’s 1984 and Big Brother nowadays.  Moreover, Twitter is an echo chamber of mainly angry men shouting.  No one’s listening, and I’ve stopped using or contributing to it. It was making me equally irate.  However, I must use social media, Twitter, and Facebook to promote our B&B.  Well. I don’t have to – but I’d be worried that the business could be missing a trick. 

Facebook remains a vital contact for my Campbell clan dotted worldwide.  It’s what attracted me to Facebook in the first place.  I could view uncles, aunts, cousins, and their children’s lives in Australia or relatives in England.  Sure, it’s impersonal, more voyeuristic than communication.  But it does allow me to convince myself that I am stretching out a hand of friendship, which my late Mum and Dad would appreciate.  In addition, social media has allowed me to connect with old-school friends.  These friendships last a lifetime, and it’s satisfying to see their lives progress through the same stages, marriage, kids, grandchildren, and retirement. 

Occasionally, Facebook throws up a photo that I posted years ago. I went through a phase of putting a plethora of pictures of my life through the ages on Facebook.  Ridiculously, photos from before the digital age.  Somehow, I thought it was good for posterity.   And today, an image popped up, showing me with my friend Derek Dickson.  It was from 1989!  I admit it seems odd on a podcast to ask the listener to go to the blog and view the picture – but please do.

What struck me about the 80’s selfie was not the changes in technology or the speed that life races in these times, but the features of Derek and me. It is an image of potential, optimism, and a certain age.  We’re both crouching in front of the camera because, in those days, you had to hit a timer button on the top of your camera and stand back.  There were no such things as selfies then, and it was hit-and-miss.  I can bet there were three or four other photos from the developed film that were taken on that occasion but didn’t work because we weren’t looking or blinking or I hadn’t returned quickly enough to my position.  There was no instant gratification, as it took a couple of days for the film to be processed by the chemists.

 We’ve lost our youth.  We’ve lost our good looks.  We’ve lost our hair.  We’ve lost our health; Derek and I have both had heart scares.  Worse still, we’ve lost the optimism of youth, the innocence that all things could be possible.  But what we haven’t lost is our friendship. 

In some ways, we’re opposites, Derek is quiet, thoughtful, and reserved, and I – well, I’m not!  But when we meet, it’s as if we’re back in the Queen’s Arms in Edinburgh, laughing and putting the world to rights.  Of course, that includes being silent and enjoying each other’s company in solitude and peace.  I find that reassuring.

I hope you have a Derek in your life, and make sure you have a selfie with your bestie next time you meet, even if it’s just for posterity.